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September 10, 2007


What's funny is that this was completely unnecessary. It was a shot fired before the battle, and their revealing last words "will likely become" didn't really amount to anything. As a result, not only will they draw fire for the insult, but they look silly as well.

Hello Brendan,

By pretending that many positive independent reports on the "surge" results do not exist, doesn't MoveOn's ad featuring "General Betray Us" at least somewhat support Freedom's Watch's contention that MoveOn sees US military progress in Iraq as not good news?

If it does, then doesn't MoveOn's ad also supports the point that FW did not smear MoveOn, but instead portrayed MoveOn accurately?

Please respond here.

Except Freedom Watch's smear had nothing to do with the disagreement with Move On, just as Move On's smear has nothing to do with their disagreement with Petraeus.

Why is this hard to understand?


"You're wrong." <--not a smear
"You're wrong and you're a traitor." <--smear

Sean-B, when you apply your "'You're wrong and you're a traitor.' (statement equals) smear" formulation, you're talking about MoveOn and its "General Betray Us" ad, right?

If so, I agree with you; that was a smear. MoveOn presented no evidence that General Petraeus is a traitor.

However if you are talking about Freedom's watch's ad, the smear charge is harder to make stick.

MoveOn, by making false statements about the absence of independent reports describing positive "surge" military results, has presented evidence in its New York Times ad and in other communications that MoveOn does not perceive US military progress in Iraq as good news -- which is what Freedom's Watch alleged in its ad.

Therefore your "'You're wrong.' (statement equals) not a smear" formulation should apply to Freedom's Watch, at least insofar as its ad attacking MoveOn is concerned.

This is the subject on which I wish Brendan would comment, examining how his "MoveOn smeared Petraeus" charge affects, perhaps nullifies, his "Freedom's Watch smeared MoveOn" charge.


You say "many" independent reports exist. How many are you talking about, and how independent are they? Seeing as Freedom's Watch isn't really independent themselves, I'm curious. To claim MoveOn is making false statements, you have to not only verify how credible these reports are, but also prove that MoveOn knew about them.

Regardless, Freedom's Watch is still alluding that MoveOn is "losing it's battle", which questions their motives (and uses a war metaphor to boot) and calls their politics "shameful" without saying why, all while showing patriotic imagery. Whether the surge is working or not is no excuse to question someone's patriotism, which both groups did.

There are so many positive reports from independent sources now working in Iraq, many based outside the US, that I hardly know where to start listing. As for sources that MoveOn must have known about, veteran New York Times reporter John Burns is an obvious example. These sources may be wrong, but, contrary to MoveOn's claim, they exist.

As you and I commented the other day, FW's "you're only a patriot if you agree with us" bluster is stupid and surely turns off a lot of people. But should expressing that attitude be called "smearing"?

Note MoveOn's claiming to speak for all (true) Americans in the NYT ad above: "But we won't hear what Americans are desperate to hear: a timetable for withdrawing all our troops."

Using your (and Brendan's ?) definition for smearing, in the above excerpt MoveOn smeared not only Petraeus, but all Americans who think the right time to get out of Iraq was before we ever got in -- people who think quitting now means abandoning our country's promise to millions of Iraqi democrats, leaving them to fight alone in a war we started.

Anyway I think your smear definition is too broad; it creates too many unintended targets for the attacks of Freedom's Watch and MoveOn.

MoveOn's "General Betray Us" smear is something else though. It exhibited the precise targeting of a straw-fired spitball.


Thought this news might be of some interest to your readers:

NEW moveon.org TV ad coming out on Monday Sept 17th...basically calling President Bush a traitor.

MoveOn.org TV Ad

For General David Betray Us:
General David Betray Us

Have a great weekend!

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